Chosen 2003 “Herb of the Year.” America’s most popular herb, finally got its due and to celebrate, we continue to add new basils annually. We encourage those of you who are as enthralled with basils as we are, to check out "BASIL: AN HERB LOVER'S GUIDE," by Tom DeBaggio & Susan Belsinger. (Interweave Press. ISBN 1-883010-19-5).
Overall, basils love full sun, normal moisture (preferably applied below leaf canopy- their leaves respond poorly to direct, weekly, showers from above) and warmth. Planting right next to your house, under an overhang is ideal. Trim flowers and harvest foliage regularly for optimum flavor and growth.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, do not plant directly in the ground until the soil warms, which is usually at least 3 weeks after your frost free date. In Ohio that means no earlier than Memorial Day.
Fresh is best, frozen (by pureeing with oil, pouring into a dedicated-to-herbs ice cube tray and popping them into a freezer container after freezing into blocks) is second best. If you must dry basil, do it with warmth (100 degree max.), ventilation (ceiling fan?) and away from direct light to get it crisp dry quickly.